What I do is intrusive. I'll get up in your business and take your picture. I'll record video. I'll talk about something we did together. I'll blog about it.
A lot of it has to do with my inability to let go and be part of the moment. I prefer to watch and enjoy experiences apart from melee. I have personality quirks that I don't care to fix, being happy the way God made me.
One of the things I realized early on when I started writing a journal, then started blogging, and then podcasting, and so forth, was that I am making history. My wife studied History in college, and she's good at it. The most valuable thing she knows how to do is Historiography. She knows where to look for information.
But, the thing is, what she loves to do depends largely on what I do, which is to record things.
Many of you are accidentally contributing to history via social media. However, most of what people post online has little value to Historians. I mean that your smart-ass repost on why Snooki did whatever (I'm not entirely certain who she is) has little value when compared to your letter to your loved one fighting in Afghanistan, or your letter to the editor on the subject.
On a macro scale, most social media is meaningless. It's just minutiae. However, when you record moments with the intent of capturing your family history, it takes on a whole new dimension.
Your photos, your notes, your videos, your ...whatever..., they become a part of the family lore. They become a way of remembering those who have passed away. Take for example, my Oral History interview with my Grandmother, Luz Mata. Earlier this year, I had to attend her funeral. My family was glad to hear her voice again.
Below is a video by Jared Polin, who photographed the last days of his mother's struggle with cancer. The video really touched me, and reminded me of why I do what I do.
As insignificant as you think you are, you have a story. People have memories of you. They care about you and find an endearing quality about you, even if you're an asshole; because you're family.
It's hard to watch the video without getting teary-eyed. It gives you an idea about why you should record those personal moments. It used to be that all we had was memories; we have the technology to augment those memories.
It's important to leave something behind for those you love. It is a small comfort; but, it's a comfort.